With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013
With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

Friday, December 03, 2010

ACF 797: Reminder - FREE screening of Naruse's YEARNING tonight in NY

Yearning /Madareru
Directed by Mikio Naruse
Japan, 1964, 100min, 35mm, B&W.
Where: Asia Society, 725 Park Avenue (at 70th Street), NYC
When: Friday, December 3, 2010, 6:45 PM
Japanese with English subtitles

Just a brief reminder that Japanese Cinema 1960s, the series of five free screenings jointly presented by Asia Society and Japan Foundation, continues this evening with this work by Naruse, one of Japan's finest film directors.

Reiko Morita (Hideko Takamine) stars as a widow whose husband died during World War II. She keeps her late husband’s family small store afloat against supermarket competition and the meddling of her in-laws, just as she keeps his memory and her love for him alive in her heart. Koji Morita (Yuzo Kayama) is her younger brother-in-law and has "special" feelings for her.

It's remarkable how the post-war economic changes in Japan as depicted here reflect many similar recent developments in the United States. Small stores, such as "mom & pop" video stores and independent bookstores, have largely disappeared due to competition from larger enterprises such as Blockbuster and Barnes & Noble, which in turn are being threatened from online ventures such as Netflix and Amazon.com.

The movie itself is perhaps a bit "talkie," but not troublesomely so. Although lacking his vibrant technicolor and being set in Japan, for me the film had a Douglas Sirk-like melodramatic quality. And I in no way mean this in a derogatory way. I enjoyed those films of Sirk I've watched on Criterion DVDs (such as All That Heaven Allows and Written on the Wind) , and very much enjoyed Yearning.

ACF Rating: 3 out of 4 stars, solidly recommended. And since it's being shown for free, you can't go wrong.

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